SAMIM now a combined multi-dimensional mission

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Fourteen months since arriving in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) is transitioning from a full military to a “multi-dimensional mission” with combined operations.

These will see military, civilian, police and correctional services components being brought to bear on the northern Mozambican province that has been under attack by ASWJ (Al-Sunna Wa-Jama’ah) over the past five years.

The change in mission status from African Union (AU) Scenario Six – full military – to Scenario Five, with soldiers working alongside police, corrections officers and civilians, was made public this week (12 September) in Pemba when early results from a SADC peacebuilding support initiative called an early response mechanism (ERM) were made public.

Acting SAMIM Head of Mission, South African Major General Xolani Mankayi, said the four components would work together to restore peace and stability in Cabo Delgado.

He urged all involved in peacebuilding efforts in Cabo Delgado to prepare for synchronised operations as part of the new scenario while continuing to fight terrorism and bring Cabo Delgado back to peace, socio-economic recovery and prosperity.

Mankayi said it was unacceptable that prospects for socio-economic development were constrained by terrorism, resulting in destruction of economic and social infrastructure and loss of productive capacity in affected areas.

Conflict in the province resulted in what is termed a severe humanitarian crisis impacting all inhabitants and displacing over 800 000 people.

The two-star further called for widespread support of the Cabo Delgado Reconstruction Plan. It outlines a number of strategic actions for re-establishment of public services, infrastructure, and socio-economic recovery in the province. The plan further addresses re-establishment of populace confidence to create secure conditions and livelihoods. He noted synergies between the ERM and the reconstruction plan. ERM capacity building is focused on youth entrepreneurship, women empowerment and capacity building for police and correctional services all complementary to Reconstruction Plan objectives. Efforts to bring normality back to northern Mozambique have seen humanitarian activities undertaken by ERM workers.

South Africa recently rotated its soldiers on the ground in its eastern neighbour with Combat Team Alpha (CTA) taking over from the initial deployment of mostly Special Forces operators.

Cabo Delgado has been in the crosshairs of ASWJ since 2017, opposed initially only by Mozambique’s armed forces (Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique, better known by the acronym FADM). A SADC force, deployed as SAMIM, has been on the ground for over a year with a thousand-strong contingent of Rwandan military also taking the fight to the insurgents. Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia are SADC countries currently contributing troops and materiel to the regional bloc mission.